Why Me? Hosts A National Conference: How to use Restorative Justice for Hate Crime
Why me? have been working on a two year project about how to make Restorative Justice happen for hate crime.
Our findings were presented at a National Conference in October at our offices in London.
In attendance were staff from 12 police areas across the country, Restorative Justice facilitators, PCC staff, representatives of community groups affected by hate crime, Restorative Justice academics, and even two individuals from Poland interested in learning from approaches here in the UK.
Why hate crime?
Over 103,000 hate crime cases were recorded by police in England and Wales last year, and many more are expected to go unreported. Restorative Justice can offer a unique path to repairing the harm caused by acts which target victims based on their identity. Why me? is campaigning to improve hate victims awareness and access to Restorative Justice, by ensuring that support and information is available to them throughout the criminal justice process.
Academic research illustrates the impact that hate crime has on victims. Hate crime victims suffer greater psychological impacts than victims of other crimes, partly because they feel powerless to prevent future victimization.
A presentation from Professor Mark Walters provided our attendees with academic findings into the use of Restorative Justice with hate crime. Mark is a leading academic on Restorative Justice and hate crime, who wrote a book on the subject in 2014.
Mark discussed research into the lifecycle of a hate crime, illustrating the thousands of cases which never reach the courtroom, and present an opportunity for Restorative Justice to intervene and help victims of hate crime to move on. The police and Crown Prosecution Service are called on to ensure that Restorative Justice is presented as an option to those victims missed by the law.
Outcomes and our next steps
We are publishing two papers on Restorative Justice and hate crime based on the findings from this project. We previewed our findings at this event, and allowed attendees to feed their own experiences into our research. There were seminar discussions throughout the day on the topics of leadership, monitoring, partnerships and processes – which looked at how organisational changes in these areas can increase the use of Restorative Justice for hate crime.
The event was a great opportunity for Why me? to share our findings and receive feedback. Attendees shared the successes and difficulties of using Restorative Justice for hate crime cases, providing us with interesting frontline experiences.
We hope attendees will be emboldened to push for organisational change when needed, and that they learned new approaches to support victims of hate crime to have their voices heard.
Two papers with our findings about hate crime and Restorative Justice will be published in Restorative Justice week; the week commencing November 18th.